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Interior View of the Medicine Lodge, Mandan O-kee-pa Ceremony, 1832
23 x 27 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

The centerpiece of the Mandan religious calendar was the annual enactment of the O-kee-pa, a four-day ceremony that included the painful initiation of the most promising young men of the tribe. Their ordeal began with a four-day fast, strictly supervised by a priest in the medicine lodge.

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